Mind Capsules – Swamp Thing #1 and Doctor Strange #4

Swamp Thing #1
Swamp Thing #1

Writer – Len Wein
Artist – Kelley Jones
Colours – Michelle Madsen
Letters – Rob Leigh

For anyone looking for anything resembling what came before from the previous series of the New 52 reboot of Swamp Thing, they may be more than a little disappointed as there is almost literally nothing here even mentioning it except for The Green. Instead, what we get is a book that is a dose of old-school horror, like a flashback to the time when Len Wein originally wrote the book and you will either love it or hate it depending on the mood you are in. For those that like the horror comics of the 1970s, then this book will greatly appeal to those looking for something a little different than the norm. It is a little strange to read simply because of that very fact. It is a throwback to a time of simpler stories and a welcome one to be sure, that it does indeed throw you a little but that soon passes and you find yourself enjoying the book for what it is. The story concerns a couple who come to the swamp seeking Swamp Thing’s aid as their son has disappeared. After they tell their story, Swamp Thing agrees to look into it as he has nothing better to do and what he finds is a monster where once, there was a man. If you were to judge the book on this one story, you would naturally assume it is just going to be a monster versus monster tale, one of those that used to be common in many comics in times past. But, as this is a six issue limited series; you automatically know that there is going to be more to the story than just this simple tale. The story and the writing style might conjure memories of years gone by, but so too does the artwork by Kelley Jones who is always at his best in a horror setting. His Swamp Thing is a big, hulking monster, a creature you would normally associate with nightmares if you encountered him alone in the swamp and it looks fantastic. Even better though is his depiction of The Phantom Stranger and you it makes you yearn for the character to get another series of his own, perhaps even with Jones on pencils as the man looks so mysterious and spooky. Again, this will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for those that love the horror comics of old, this is the perfect book.

3.5 out of 5

Doctor Strange #4
Doctor Strange #4

Writer – Jason Aaron
Artist – Chris Bachalo
Inker – Tim Townsend, Al Vey, Mark Irwin, John Livesay, Wayne Faucher, Victor Olazaba, Jaime Mendoza
Colours – Chris Bachalo
Letters – VC’s Cory Petit

At the Bar With No Doors, Doctor Strange relates to the entirety of the world’s magic users the discoveries he has made in other dimensions, of how magic has not only died, but has been wiped out completely and how the Sorcerer Supremes of those dimensions are no longer among the living. Later, things escalate further when Wong discovers that the spell books in the library are just blank pages, as if the magic that was within them no longer exists and when the good Doctor heads out to investigate, he learns that this dimension is not just going to be invaded by whatever it is that is killing magic, it has already arrived. While the book starts out on an ominous note, Jason Aaron still finds time to introduce a little humour into the mix with Zelma and the Doctor’s eating habits. So far, Zelma is turning out to be a really good addition to the cast as the continual leaning on Wong over the years, left little room for anything even resembling something funny, or even something different than the status quo. The funny is secondary to the rest of the story though and soon enough, the serious tone of the book returns as Strange is on the trail of whatever mysterious force has come to Earth with ill intentions for those that practice magic. We as the reader already know what it is, but even so, it never lessens the tension that Aaron sets up through the book and once it is over, all you can think about is when the next one might appear so that the story can continue. Chris Bachalo provides some incredible pencils once again and while he did great work on the X-Men, his work here on Doctor Strange is even better as he really knows how to make the creepy-crawly stuff just that, and shows just how inventive his imagination is. A fantastic book on all fronts by this creative team.

4 out of 5

3 replies »

  1. Doctor Strange #4 was another great issue, really weird and strange, and great art. Swamp Thing #1 was awesome, I loved this book! A great start to the new series. Len Wein and Kelley Jones are a dream team for this book, with its spooky atmosphere and great visuals, this is one title that I’ll be sure to get from now on. Great reviews as well!

    Liked by 1 person

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